Is former President Olusegun Obasanjo the newest wailer in town and victim of buyer’s remorse? Hear him speak of the current government and the economic hardship occasioned by its rigid economic policies and mismanagement of the Naira which has lost 80 per cent of its value in less than two years.
I understand President Buhari’s frustration on the state of the economy. It was the same reason and situation that brought about the cry for change, otherwise, there would be no need for change if it was all nice and rosy. No administration can or should be comfortable with the excruciating pain of debilitating and crushing economy. Businesses are closing, jobs are being lost and people are suffering.
We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect things to change.
Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based.
Like Chief Obasanjo, I am at a loss if it is the same PMB that ran for President on populist agenda for four consecutive times that is on the driver’s seat controlling the steering today. I wonder what went wrong with his avowed love for the masses and why the change he promised is now pain? Tough luck? Is Mr. President truly under the control of the fabled witches of Aso-Rock, reputed to possess the power to seize the strongest of men and change the best of good intentions to bad? Can we hire the best of exorcists to exorcise his many demons?
Make no mistake, I do not expect PMB or any president to be a super human that will resolve all our individual and collective challenges with the wave of a magic wand, but what about the ability to hire the right men for the right job? The biggest dilemma we are in is that there is clear lack of competency to even hire the right people for the job at hand hence we are in recession with little or no hope of rebound.
It is no more about partisan affiliation. There is despondency and despair at every turn. Big and small businesses are closing down. People are tired, angry, frustrated and desperate.
They want action on the economy, which they are not getting and we must do something while we still have the time.
We need someone who does not belong to the kitchen or the other room to speak to the president and his economic team? What manner of economic managers will increase fuel pump price by over 100 per cent, increase tariff on electricity, impose additional taxes on communication and data services, increase port charges by over 500 per cent, devalue the Naira, impose additional taxes on citizens right of obtaining international passport and yet leave minimum wage as it were some 4 years back? Even Lucifer knows better than to visit hell with such a scourge.
Soon after the 2015 election and seeing how the victorious team was wrongly headed, the advice we gave for the love of Nigeria was for the leader to avoid distraction and get busy with governance. We advised him to subdue his anger against opponents because anger alone cannot solve problems. We reminded him that there is no time to waste because four years is too short in the life of any administration though long enough to make a rain. We told him it was wrong to assume that the past 16 years was a waste. We referenced a long list of policies from the OBJ time to Jonathan despite the imperfections of those era that can be built upon.
We told him that the election that just brought him to power succeeded in polarizing the nation, that while the wounds are raw and may take time to heal that we have a duty to initiate the healing process. That 2015 was neither about him (Buhari) nor Jonathan but about Nigeria. That Nigeria is a very fragile country and that all the planned war of attrition against perceived opponents, the South East and Niger Delta will further destroy Nigeria. We reminded that he can go beyond APC and the North to find people who can help him achieve change and that everyday criticism of the former administration will only satisfy our short-term euphoria.
Every wise counsel was jettisoned because our leaders have no sense of history coupled with the regime being surrounded by lieutenants who are selfish, greedy and incompetent.
Because good advices are taken as challenge, people who speak out are threatened with very grave repercussions. The consequence is that the president is left with little or no honest advice.
Compare the charade that went on since 2015 in Nigeria to Mr. Trump current efforts to bring the country together and build a strong team that will deliver on his key agenda. Trump is doing his best to scout for the best of talents even from the harshest of his critics and opponents. Most of the people he is hiring never funded his campaign or even voted for him but because he is focused on results and willing to put the country on the right path he has gone out of his way to handpick people who are the ultimate best to feel in key positions. It doesn’t matter if they were whites, blacks or Indians, democrats or republicans, it is all about America and making America great. Can we in all honesty say same of this government? Whatever your answer may be, I believe there is hope for Nigeria and we must keep this hope alive.
Let me end this conversation by congratulating Chief Akeredolu, the Ondo State governor-elect for his resounding victory. I believe the election was free and fair and reflected the will of the people of Ondo State. My prayer is for God to guide the new governor with His wisdom so that he will lead Ondo State right. He has no excuse not to work for the people. God has endowed him with every good fortune, good health, knowledge and good conscience. He also gave him a dutiful wife. God will not forgive him if he becomes a disappointment.
APC victory in Ondo should be a lesson for PDP assuming the party has anything to learn. The Ondo election was theirs to win but they allowed personal and private interest to deny them of the crown. I had no doubt that both Jimoh Ibrahim and Ali Modu Sheriff in their shortsightedness worked against the party interest and were procured to do the hatchet job which they did exceedingly well. My biggest concern was how the PDP with 16 years of leadership history and experience could find a good company with characters like Sheriff and Jimoh who never shared common values with the party. I sincerely fear for the future of PDP even though I have no tears for them.
My only tears is for democracy in Nigeria. I have wished that both PDP and APC would continue to be healthy and strong as the de facto two-major political parties in Nigeria. While not weeping for the self-destructing PDP, I will abhor any systemic destruction of the opposition by the ruling party. I consider such action to be treasonable and inimical to our national security. Therefore, whatever that is wrong with PDP we must ensure that APC and the Federal Government has no direct or indirect influence on its imminent demise.